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Does the ecosystem approach offer anything new for environmental decision-making? Report on the Royal Geographical Society Annual Meeting held 29 August 2013

Howard, Bruce; Waylen, Kerry; Blackstock, Kirsty. 2013 Does the ecosystem approach offer anything new for environmental decision-making? Report on the Royal Geographical Society Annual Meeting held 29 August 2013. Ecosystems Knowledge Network, 7pp. (CEH Project no: C04495)

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Abstract/Summary

• The ecosystem approach (implemented via its twelve principles for management, as per the Convention on Biological Diversity) is a way of implementing sustainable development, rather than an end in itself. • Although slow, there has been progress in implementing the ecosystem approach over the past decade. • Benefits of this approach to environmental decision-making include: o Recognition of the existence of a socio-ecological system (nature and society being inter-twined). o Highlighting the relationships between environment and human wellbeing that are not simply utilitarian. o Provision of the impetus for making decision-making processes relating to land and nature being more inclusive, equitable and transparent. • Challenges include: o Confusion about what constitutes the ecosystem approach, including conflation of this term with ecosystem service assessment. o The compartmentalised nature of government. o Constraints due to property rights. o Lack of existing evaluation of case studies and tools. • Opportunities include: o Improving the way the natural environment forms part of decision-making o Improving environmental impact assessment processes. o Better targeting of funding for inter-disciplinary research. • Options for addressing challenges and opportunities include: o Application and review of tools and guidance to case studies at multiple levels including major national infrastructure project. o More guidance on implementation and checklist for planning projects. o Ensuring the label ‘the ecosystem approach’ is only used when all twelve principles are considered.

Item Type: Publication - Report (UNSPECIFIED)
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biodiversity > BD Topic 3 - Managing Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in a Changing Environment > BD - 3.4 - Provide science-based advice ...
CEH Sections: Acreman
Funders/Sponsors: Defra, James Hutton Institute
Additional Keywords: ecosystems approach
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 28 Apr 2014 11:16 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/507151

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